Forecast of millennium's coldest winter lacks evidence

11:01, October 14, 2010      

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In response to the prediction by foreign scholars that the coldest winter in the past 1,000 years is set to hit Europe in 2010, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said on Oct. 12 that humans do not currently have the ability to predict extreme weather and climate that "appears once over 1,000 years."

The prediction is only based on the La Nina phenomenon and the overall climate background of global warming. Therefore, it still lacks sufficient scientific evidence. However, academics and government officials need to stay vigilant to prevent low temperature damage that may appear in China during the 2010 winter, according to the China Meteorological Administration.

Currently, theories abound that the La Nina phenomenon will disturb the movements of the warm ocean currents and cause the "coldest winter in 1,000 years" to hit Europe. Research of the National Climate Center under the CMA shows that although the La Nina phenomenon has a global impact, its direct impact is only limited in the tropical Pacific Rim. Its impact toward the climate of high and middle-latitude regions is indirect and complicated. For instance, the influence of La Nina in Europe has not reached a confirmable degree.

Data shows that temperatures of winters in Europe over the years have shown an upward trend since the mid-20th century, and the temperatures of cold winters in Europe have never been more than two degrees Celsius lower than the previous year. The possibility of the seeing the coldest winter in the past 1,000 years is extremely small against the background of global warming.

At present, humans are able to predict only the overall trend of climate anomalies over a limited period of time and cannot yet make reliable forecasts of extreme weather events ?much less a weather event as extreme as the coldest winter in 1,000 years. Humans lack reliable technologies and tools in this field after all.

The climate center's studies show that La Nina is still in the development phase and has not exhibited clear signs. It is estimated that temperatures will be close to normal in most parts of China this winter. However, temperature fluctuations will be relatively large, and some regions may have below-normal temperatures. The center suggested that some departments should take measures in advance to prevent the periodic strong cooling and subsequent chilling injury in this winter.

Furthermore, meteorological departments will strengthen the monitoring of climatic factors affecting winter temperatures and provide timely and detailed weather forecasts for the convenience of residents.

By People's Daily Online


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